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East River

Tamiko Beyer

Over and under a thousand times, my body travelling across filigreed bridges named for the boroughs on the banks, through the tunnels kept from flood by the constant sump pumps. From Brooklyn’s shimmy to Manhattan’s rage, from Manhattan’s swan to Brooklyn’s fur, and back and back again. Our bodies at the Brooklyn shore the summer you and I – Whitman’s others ever so many hundred years hence – kissed the rhythm of the tidal strait, the flood tide and ebb tide.

Love what always changes –
river, its fickle back casting
sky’s each light.

Miles below, the subway curves in screech and hurtle, my body rattles under pressure. I look at people’s faces. Kin, but no one gives away our private intimacies. Amassed, crowded into the dank, we are here because we came and never left. One bend into the next and we rise up and out, a new layer of sediment across our bodies. Riverbed and clay, what we all once were.

Tamiko Beyer

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